Young Warriors return to practice with a bright future ahead of them


Ray Hamill/ – Larry Tracy (4) is back to lead the Warriors this spring.

By Ray Hamill — The Hoopa Warriors finally returned to football practice this week, as they get set for their season opener in two weeks.

And, according to new head coach Floyd “Cowboy” Billings, the future looks pretty bright for the program.

“We have a young core group,” said Billings, whose players were just cleared to begin practice on Tuesday. “But these kids, if we get a chance to play for an NCS championship (in a year or two), these are the guys to compete for it.”

The Warriors have decent numbers for what will be a shortened three-game spring season, which kicks off at home to South Fork on April 3.

They are young, however, with a wealth of talented juniors and sophomores.

And that has Billings excited about the future, along with the bond they have on the field.

“What I like about them is they’re working as a team,” the new head coach said. “All the players have played with each other for years before they got to high school. They already have that bond.

“And they want it. They’re out there working hard all the way across the board.”

This season, Billings and his staff will rely heavily on a pair of seniors, who are expected to lead the way.

Larry Tracy will play quarterback and running back, while Sly Logan will anchor both lines.

“These two really have the ability to go on to the next level,” Billings said. “They’ve got the grades, they’ve got the work ethic, they have everything to go to the next level to play.”

And after such an uncertain and unusual year in high school sports, the coach wants his players to send the two seniors out with a bang.

“These two seniors, we’re here playing for them,” he said. “So I told the players, let’s be here for these guys. Let’s play hard for these guys.”

Tracy was originally slated to play quarterback, but the coach intends to utilize his versatility.

“He just wants to play,” Billings said.

Logan, meanwhile, is the team’s fastest and strongest lineman.

“He’s showing up,” Billings said. “He’s leading by example and working hard.”

The new head coach is on familiar terms with all of his players, having coached many of them at both the youth and JV levels.

“The coaching staff all coached these players,” Billings said. “The players all know exactly what we want, what we need, and what we expect.”

The long-time Hoopa Valley coach, who has been waiting patiently for his opportunity to coach at the varsity level, admits he was a little nervous before the opening practice.

But not any more.

“I’m stoked about it,” he said. “I was nervous at first, but after this last week, it’s let’s go and we got right back into it.”

It has, however, been somewhat challenging with all the COVID protocols.

“It’s hard for us, but we’re doing it,” he said. “We’re doing the whole social distancing and following all the protocols. It’s difficult, but we’re doing it.”

The Warriors won’t field a JV team this spring.

In addition to hosting South Fork, the varsity team will host the Fortuna B team on April 10 and play at Ferndale on April 17.


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